• Today's Daily Devotion
Ploesti
The B-24’s flew “straight into a scene that resembled the background of a medieval painting of hell.” Raging fires, black smoke, flak bursts, and tracers ...

Ploesti

The B-24’s flew “straight into a scene that resembled the background of a medieval painting of hell.”

Raging fires, black smoke, flak bursts, and tracers filled the air over the oil refineries of Ploesti, Romania. One hundred seventy-seven American bombers flew thirteen hundred miles from North Africa to attack the strategic target providing thirty percent of Germany’s oil. Flying at tree top level in daylight, under radio silence, the daring raid was difficult to coordinate and highly dangerous. Instead of arriving simultaneously over the six refineries, the B-24s came in a few at a time to face alerted anti-aircraft batteries and fighter opposition. On that day in August 1943 forty-four aircraft went down with the loss of almost five hundred men. Five earned the Medal of Honor.

Twenty-one-year-old Capt. Richard Butler of San Diego, California, was a volunteer for the Ploesti mission. He and many others faced the unknown and their own fear with the most effective source of comfort known:

I was the co-pilot of our B-24 and Walt Bunker was the pilot. Walt was anything but a religious man, so I was surprised, as we were going out across the Mediterranean, to see Walt pull out one of the small Bibles we were issued and start reading it. I always carried mine with me and I got it out and read some Psalms. I had read from the Good book on other missions, but I had never seen Walt reading from a Bible. That kind of gives you an idea about how serious we were taking this mission.

There are many psalms that reassure us during difficult times. Psalm 23 is the best known and most memorized. I have found the transcendent imagery of Psalm 91 a special source of encouragement when I am fearful: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty”(Psalm 91:1). Scripture such as this enables us to turn our attention away from our earthly concerns and toward our Father in heaven. Even though the dangers that we face may not go away, we know from his Word that God, through his Son, has assured us of his eternal protection.

You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.

—Psalm 91:56


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